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Intense Pulsed Light

Reduce Rosacea Redness, Visible Vessels, and Cosmetic Sun Damage with IPL in Portland

Intense Pulsed Light Portland

Many people have a goal of enjoying clear and even skin, but there are numerous factors that can get in the way of achieving that look. Sun damage can contribute to everything from wrinkles to spots, chronic conditions like rosacea can cause persistent redness, visible blood vessels—known as spider veins—can form over time, and more. Fortunately, all of these cosmetic issues can be addressed with a single treatment: intense pulsed light at Portland’s Aesthetic Medicine.

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It may sound counter-intuitive to use a light-based solution for light-based problems, but the proof is in the results—as well as the science backing the process. Ultraviolet radiation from sunlight and tanning beds causes damage to collagen, elastin, and even the DNA of the skin cells themselves. The result is an increased breakdown in healthy proteins and sugars, leading to a degradation in skin quality, the development of hyperpigmentation, and other issues. Intense pulsed light (also known as IPL) uses multiple wavelengths of light—commonly outside of the wavelengths that include UV radiation—to target these imperfections, resulting in visible improvement.
Ready to schedule a consultation for skin-clearing intense pulsed light at Portland’s Aesthetic Medicine? Call us at 503.907.9605 or send a message online.

Why Choose Aesthetic Medicine for Intense Pulsed Light in Portland?

Our team has experience with a range of light-based treatments in general, as well as intense pulsed light in particular. We’ve treated thousands of patients over the last 30 years and have proven results—for rosacea, sun damage, and more—as shown in our before-and-after photos. In addition to providing results with today’s treatments, we also offer education and advice to help minimize tomorrow’s cosmetic issues. We want you to look as good as you feel for as long as possible!

What Is Intense Pulsed Light?

There are many light-based treatments available to patients today. Some, like lasers, use a single focused wavelength of light to ablate or remove the surface of the skin, damage unwanted cells, and trigger natural healing processes. Other light treatments may activate compounds absorbed by the skin.

Intense pulsed light is not a laser or compound-activating strategy. Instead, the intense pulsed light device does just what the name indicates: It emits intense pulses of light, typically in a “middle range” by blocking higher and lower wavelengths.

These powerful pulses send the energy into the skin, where the light is absorbed more readily by darker-pigmented cells. This causes those cells to heat up. Think of it as the same science behind the reason a dark-colored car gets hotter when left in the sun than a light-colored car.

Simply put, rapidly heating the darker cells kills them off and prompts their removal from the body. Spots targeted with intense pulsed light will ultimately flake and slough off—although ideal results may take multiple sessions.

What Conditions Can Intense Pulsed Light Treat?

Many cosmetic issues related to pigmentation can be addressed with intense pulsed light. This includes freckles, sun spots, and areas of hyperpigmentation, all of which tend to stand out as darker patches than the surrounding skin.

The pigmentation that makes blood red, known as hemoglobin, can also be targeted with intense pulsed light. Small veins can sometimes fail to work properly, allowing blood to pool and cause the veins to swell and bulge. These vessels can become visible on the surface of the skin, where they appear as red or otherwise dark-colored lines known as spider veins. Blood near the surface is also the culprit behind the constant flushing and blushing associated with rosacea. When intense pulsed light hits the hemoglobin in visible vessels, the resulting heat causes the vein to seal off and eventually collapse and be absorbed back into the body. This doesn’t impact proper circulation, since blood was already not getting through the veins as it should have and is simply routed through other vessels to get to where it needs to go.

Intense pulsed light can also trigger natural healing processes—including renewed collagen production—that improve the look of wrinkled skin, a dull tone, and even certain scars.

A Closer Look at Intense Pulsed Light and Rosacea

Rosacea is a chronic skin condition, which means that while there is no known cure yet, the symptoms can be managed for patients dealing with flare-ups throughout their life. The most common sigs of rosacea are uncontrollable flushing, spider veins, thickening skin (especially on the nose), acne-like skin eruptions, and discomfort or even pain in more severe cases.

These rosacea signs and symptoms can flare up at any time, but are often more likely to develop due to sun exposure, emotional stress, intense activity, and certain dietary choices—like spicy foods, hot drinks, and alcohol.

Patients who have rosacea can minimize flare-ups by managing and avoiding known triggers. When redness, spider veins, and other problems develop, intense pulsed light can help.

As explained above, the red pigmentation in blood easily absorbs intense pulsed light, leading to a reduction in overall redness, as well as in specific visible issues, like spider veins.

If you are struggling with the visual, physical, and emotional effects of rosacea, know that you are not alone. An estimated 415 million people around the world deal with rosacea, with about 16 million in the United States alone. The Aesthetic Medicine team is here to help you.

What Happens Before an Intense Pulsed Light Session?

Before recommending any treatment plan, we meet with a potential patient for a personalized consultation. Our goal is to listen and observe, as well as to examine the problem and make the appropriate diagnosis—which leads to the most appropriate treatment plan. Intense pulsed light is a safe and highly effective tool, but it is not the ideal approach for everyone. The Aesthetic Medicine team wants to be sure that each person received care that makes a difference based on their unique needs.

In addition to educating you about how intense pulsed light works and what it can accomplish, we will answer your questions about the cosmetic issues you want to address, the recommended treatment, and your range of options. We will also discuss important details like potential side effects, risks, IPL cost, and more.

What Happens During an Intense Pulsed Light Session?

Each treatment involves moving a handheld IPL device directly over the skin in the targeted treatment area. The intense pulsed of light may feel like a “snap” to the surface of the skin, but the treatment is typically considered to cause minimal discomfort—and sessions are brief. While times vary based on the size and number of areas being treated, a single intense pulsed light session can last about 45 minutes, which makes it a convenient choice, even for those with busy schedules.

Talk to us if you have particular concerns about how the intense pulsed light treatment will feel. We can work with you to minimize discomfort and ensure that you feel as at ease as possible.

What Happens After an Intense Pulsed Light Session?

Treated skin may develop sunburn-like effects, including redness, swelling, and discomfort. These minor irritations are temporary and should be expected to resolve fully on their own. Keep in mind the importance of protecting treated skin from UV exposure. Stay indoors, cover up, or wear a barrier-based sunscreen when you go outside. Ultraviolet radiation can harm the especially sensitive skin if given the chance.

Patients can return to their typical daily activities as soon after an intense pulsed light session as they feel comfortable. Some improvements to the skin will be noticeable shortly after the treatment, but the collapse and reabsorption of visible veins, the rising and flaking away of pigmented lesions, and the production of new collagen all take time. Expect to see continued results for weeks and months after a session.

We will talk with you at your initial consultation about the expected number of sessions to achieve your goals, and will revisit the plan after subsequent treatments to ensure we are making the progress you want.

What Lights Treatments Are Available Beyond IPL at Aesthetic Medicine?

In addition to intense pulsed light, lasers can be very effective solutions for a range of problems, which is why Aesthetic Medicine offers laser hair removal, laser acne treatment, LaserLift™ pore and scar reduction, and more. Visit us for a consultation and discover which laser, light, or energy treatment could be ideal for you!

Schedule your consultation for skin-clearing intense pulsed light today. Contact Aesthetic Medicine for IPL in Portland by calling 503.907.9605 or send a message online.

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